Selfridges brings nature to Oxford Street during lockdown

Selfridges brings nature to Oxford Street during lockdown

Featuring Marco Kesseler’s evocative Polytunnel series, ‘A Return to Nature’ brings a natural high to London’s eerily quiet shopping district

While galleries remain closed, and the streets of London remain hushed and subdued, a photography exhibition is breathing new life into the city’s retail heart. ‘A Return to Nature’ is a joint outdoor show by photographers Marco Kesseler and Cameron Bensley and is displayed across Selfridges’ flagship store windows. 

The exhibition celebrates the beauty and fragility of the natural world, our relationship with it, and sparks a dialogue around the impacts of climate change.

The work of British photographer Marco Kesseler is deeply entwined with social engagement. His series Polytunnel delves into the concealed landscape of agricultural food production spaces and creates tensions between chaos and control; artificial and environmental. 

Polytunnel, by Marco Kesseler on view in the windows of Selfridges

Polytunnel, by Marco Kesseler

Shot in locations such as Devon and the Midlands, Kessler the series charts the different stages of the agricultural calendar, documenting the cycle of planting, growing, harvesting and lying fallow. Here, plastic polytunnels and the tightly-controlled cultivation process within are juxtaposed with unruly natural surroundings. In these ethereal images, which zoom in on the peripheral elements of agricultural production, nature ruptures the plastic shrouds and establishes itself in structural cracks - allegories of environmental resilience against harmful human interventions. 

On Selfridges’ Orchard and Duke Street windows, London-based Cameron Bensley confronts both the potent power of the global natural world and its fragility under the grips of global warming. Bensley, who also works as an in-house fashion photographer at Selfridges, took to imposing natural landscapes under threat, such glaciers shielded by thermal sheeting. 

‘A Return to Nature’ is both a celebration of the natural world and a plea for its conservation. The exhibition – which is also available to view online – offers city dwellers a chance to embrace the great outdoors while the city’s busiest street remains fallow. § 

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